A few months ago, when a guy I dated changed his Facebook status to “in a relationship” people started texting or walking up to me to see how I would react to the news. Nobody seemed to remember that he and I parted ways for more than a year already and are still good friends after, nor the fact that I was actually one of the first people he told he was courting a girl.
“Okay ka lang?” They would ask in a low, deliberate voice, faces scrunched in concern, as if saying it loud or putting too much emphasis on it would cause me to break down in tears.
“Yes, I’m good.” And I could see in their skeptical faces the follow up question they wouldn’t voice out. Really? But… you’re still… single.
Of course, trying to convince them that I was indeed fine being thirty-one, single and not on the prowl for some guy would be an exercise in futility. Might even sound defensive. A lot of people think that because I’m not with someone means a) I still hold a torch for said guy or, 2) I’m a dried up, jaded beyotch.
I haven’t been in an actual relationship for about four years now. During those four years, I’ve fallen under a couple of delusions that some friendships can turn out to be more, which unfortunately ruined some perfectly good friendships, but nonetheless cemented my resolve not to settle for anything less than real.
During the last couple of years I’ve thrown myself into work and being a mom, and it’s all good. I’m not really into the dating scene. Even when I was younger, I’ve never been into blind dates. Small talk terrifies me. It’s just that at work, where I spend bulk of my time nowadays, I’m surrounded by couples and people who are in relationships. I think there are only three of us left who are still unattached. And when you’re a thirty-one-year old single woman surrounded by married or coupled folks, people assume there must be something wrong with you.
Being this single person, here’s some random things I noticed. Feel free to agree or disagree. Hey, it’s just me.
1. You can’t say or post anything about Valentine’s being a commercialized holiday destined to milk poor schmucks out of money for overpriced chocolates, flowers, stuffed toys and fancy candle-lit dinners. You can’t declare that red Cupid and hearts cut outs are cheesy. You can’t raise the question of why this became a holiday of lovers when in fact it was about a saint dying in some ancient prison dungeon. Or something to that effect. Wasn’t it?
2. You can’t go to a wedding and not participate in that seemingly innocent fun game of bouquet toss, or some sort of modernized version of it, depending on the wedding coordinator. You can’t go against tradition and give up the chance that some distant relative or friend of the groom or bride could be your “the one.” So go ahead and lift up that skirt and let some complete stranger grope up that pesky garter up your thigh.
3. You can’t finish a meal as leisurely as you want, because then the people eating with you would have to wait until you’re finished before they can start clearing their dirty dishes away, because “baka hindi ka makapag-asawa.” I don’t see the connection between dirty plates and snagging me up a spouse. What does that even mean?
4. You can’t change your Facebook status to “single” because dang, girl, be cool, everybody freaking knows already.
5. You find it hard to politely say no to offers of blind dates, casual coffee or “eye-balls” because then you’d appear all “choosy hindi naman yummy” and everybody would be like shaking their heads and saying, “Eh kaya single ka pa rin.” If I had a peso for every promise of setting me up with someone, I’d probably have enough money to buy me an iPad.
6. Your love life – or lack of it – will become everybody’s business. (So might as well blog about it, yeah?)
7. When everything in your life is going well – career, finances, you got your own car and condo and all – people will say, “O kulang na lang asawa.”
8. Every time you turn older, the next thing that comes after “Happy Birthday” is “Why don’t you have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?” and /or “So when are you getting married?” Noticed this to be especially common for women once they turn 25 and older. Girls approaching the big three-oh always get cautioned about being left by the “huling biyahe” or falling off the calendar. There’s a deadline? Well, there’s still the Bingo card.
9. When you want to have a spontaneous, after-shift visit to the watering hole or even for coffee or dinner, everybody has to call or text their partners first. And even if they do come with you, they spend most of the evening constantly checking their phones, texting their location and activities to their partners. “Alis na kami. Dito na kami. Order na kami. Kain na ko. Nguya na ko. Lunok na ko.” You know guys, there’s this thing called GPS. And oh, trust.
10. When you look good and take extra care with your make up, hair or clothes, people assume it’s because you’re dating someone or sleeping with someone. “Blooming ka ah. What’s his name?” Like if you’re single you’re expected to dress in burlap sacks and look like dirty laundry.
11. You can’t can’t make an off-hand or jokey comment about another wedding/ baby shower/ engagement news / birth announcement because, it’d be like, well at least sila… eh ikaw…?
12. Whether you’re dining alone in a restaurant, going to the mall or some park alone, watching a movie all by yourself or just want some uninterrupted, quite me-time, for cryingoutloud, they’d be all like, why? You should have called me, I would’ve come with you. Chill, brah, I’m cool.
Of course I’m making sweeping generalizations here and some exaggerations there, but you get my drift right? Point is, while I do sometimes miss the feeling of being part of a couple, right now, I’m okay being single. REALLY. I guess it’s an age thing. Or maybe it’s that I’m-fed-up-with-all-the-BS thing that we realize it’s better to hold out for someone genuine and lasting, than settling down for whoever is available for fear of being alone. Been there, done that.
You know, as hokey or righteous it may sound to others, I do believe that God has a perfect timing for these stuff. And maybe this is not my season yet to be with someone. Probably because God knows I’ll screw it up again like I did those in the past so better He keeps me off them for now.
In the meantime, I’m cool having these chairs all to myself. So, yes, I’m fine. Really. We’re all fine.